Samsung announced four additions to its line of Galaxy smartphones on Monday and all of them are aimed at both first-time smartphone buyers as well as those on a budget. The company didn’t share pricing details for the Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Star 2, Galaxy Ace 4, and Galaxy Young 2 but looking at the specifications, you can guess that Samsung means to compete harder for the low-cost phone market, which is the fastest growing smartphone segment. All four devices will ship with Android 4.4 and Samsung’s TouchWiz software.
The Galaxy Core II has the fastest processor — a 1.2 GHz quad-core chip — and with a 4.5-inch WVGA display, has the largest screen in the bunch as well. Internal storage is only 4 GB but can be expanded up to 64 GB through a memory card. The phone supports HSPA networks up to 21 Mbps and has 768 megabytes of memory. GPS, Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n round out the connectivity functions while a pair of camera sensors — 5- and 0.3-megapixels — handle imagery.
Samsung’s Galaxy Ace 4 is slightly smaller with a 4-inch WVGA screen. The phone uses either a dual-core 1.2 GHz or dual-core 1 GHz chip, depending on model. The former is available with the LTE version of the Ace 4 that includes 1 GB of memory while the slower chip is paired with 512 MB of memory in an HSPA (21 Mbps) edition. Both share the same specs after that: 4 GB of storage, expandable up to 64 GB, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct support and the same camera sensors as the Galaxy Core II.
The Galaxy Young brings a 3.5-inch HVGA screen to the mix, along with a single-core 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of memory. The same 4 GB of internal storage as other models applies here but you can only expand that to 32 GB. This phone is for HSPA networks only and swaps out A-GPS for standard location help. Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n are maintained however. Gone is the front-facing camera and the rear sensor can only capture images up to 3 megapixels in resolution.
Last is the Galaxy Star 2, which isn’t more more than a glorified feature phone by comparison. It has the same 3.5-inch HVGA screen as the Galaxy Young, as well as a single-core 1 GHz chip, but doesn’t include any true mobile broadband to speak of. Samsung simply lists the GSM frequencies so you’ll likely be on Wi-Fi for most of your browsing or downloading. Again, there’s no front-facing camera and the rear sensor tops out at 2 megapixels. Like the Young the phone has Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; there’s no GPS of any kind, however. The Star 2 also has 512 megabytes of memory and 4 GB of internal storage with 32 GB expansion capabilities.
Without pricing it’s difficult to see how the new Galaxy’s face off against other recent entry-level smartphones. Nokia’s Lumia 630 running Windows Phone 8.1 starts at $159 while the Moto E is $129. I anticipate one or perhaps two of these Samsung phones to be around those prices. I do wonder if they’ll be good value, however. The competing entry level phones I mention provide a pretty good experience and have better hardware than what Samsung is using. These will also go head-to-head with the sub-$100 phones announced last week as part of Google’s Android One initiative. There may not be enough room in the Galaxy for Samsung’s latest.